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October's Author of the Month

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Author of the Month: Lois Elhert

For the month of October we will be highlighting the works of Lois Elhert.



About Lois Elhert


Lois Elhert, known for her artistic creativity and originality.Lois Ehlert brings a distinctive collage style to children's books. Her work in children's literature began in the 1980s with Eating the Alphabet. Lois loves the world of color, nature and form. We will use her works not only for their alphabetic theme, but to explore artistic expression as well as scientific processes.


Our Reading List

Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf

Lois Ehlert's Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf  is an interest hybrid of fact, image, and story. Its bracing colors and close perspectives remind me of her other books, such as Growing Vegetable Soup, yet this one is distinctive. The facts concern the process by which a maple tree is sprouted in the forest, moved to a nursery, and finally given a permanent home. The images are leaves, seeds, twigs, and roots that Ehlert has assembles from paper and bits of actual trees. These, in turn, are combined with tape, paper clips, fabric, wire, string, ribbon, and other sundries into collages. As for the story, this is achieved with a child's voice explaining how the tree came to stand outside the window, an object of love in all seasons. ("Each spring I look for signs that my tree is growing.") I appreciate this book much more as food for the senses than as an introduction to science. The several pages of information that close the book and seem intended to extend its content are too condensed to be really useful. I wonder what most six-year-olds will make of the statement that "leaves use water, energy from sunlight, and carbon dioxide from the air" or how the directions for planting, wrapping, and staking a tree will be followed without major assistance from adults. But the figurative language (trees are "born") and the child's point of view help to make this book a work of imagination, perfect for reading out loud. Young listeners will delight in touching the raised shape of a leaf on the book's jacket and poking their fingers through the cutaway (again, shaped as a leaf) on the title page spread. The textures of burlap and other materials are so vividly pictured that children will be primed to make collages of their own.

Chicka Chick Boom Boom

Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault - Illustrated by Lois Ehlert

Alphabet books abound, and consequently the competition for becoming memorable is keen. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom attracts attention for its unusual qualities. It emphasizes the letters of the alphabet themselves, relates an original story, and uses a designer's palette. Unlike the typical alphabet book with a single letter on a page with accompanying objects, this book portrays the twenty-six letters as actors in a scene. Each one attempts to climb toward the top of the coconut tree in alphabetical order, only to tumble down again as the tree bends with their weight. The rhythmic text reads like a skipping rope chant, and is self-sufficient. Chicka chicka boom boom Will there be enough room? Here comes H up the coconut tree Even the conclusion hints that the episodes will be reenacted. With the coconut tree as the unifying element, the letters appear as a different design on each double-page spread. They are large and wide, visible by children in a group setting. Orange and fuschia clown dots alternate for the border colors, while the flat cut-out-shaped colored letters and tree are placed with thought. Subtleties such as the bandaged f and "stubbed-toe e" will not pass over even young children.

Eating the Alphabet: Fruits and Vegetables from A to Z

All too frequently, teachers tell me that colleagues strike alphabet books from their upper-grade library's order list. That's sad, for the best alphabet books are for everyone. For example with Ehlert's book you can share it as 1) a simply beautiful alphabet book, 2) a sampling of edible plants elementary grade youngsters can categorize (i.e. leaf or root, crunchy or slurpy, yellow or green), whose origins can be pinpointed on a map, or whose preparations reflect cultural similarities or differences, 3) a collection of fine watercolor collages, anyone can try, 4) an information book with glossary entries that are models of tightly constructed, information laden, two-to-four sentence paragraphs.

As we read books from this month's themed author, we will create corresponding experiential and artistic activities including outdoor activities like raking leaves, alphabetical and counting exercises, indoor sensory bins with characters and items from the books in addition to art and craft projects.



Fall Leaf Art 

Inspired by the book, "The Leaf Man" by Lois Elhert, preschoolers will take a walk outside to collect fall leaves, twigs, acorns and seeds. Our students then create their very own version of the leaf man inspired by their imagination. 

Painted Pumpkins

In this creative activity, kids design and decorate their own pumpkin character using a variety of art materials.

  • Pumpkin 

  • Paint 

  • Foam, googly eyes, yarn etc.

Pumpkin Seed  Fall Craft

Our preschoolers will make a pumpkin out of painted pumpkin seeds as our featured craft for fall craft. Counting and organizing the pumpkins seeds is an excellent exercise of the brain!

Materials used:

  • Pumpkin printable template

  • Black marker/glue

  • Orange, green and brown paint/paint brush

  • Dried pumpkin seeds (a small bag will be more than enough).

How to make your Pumpkin Seed Pumpkin Craft:


  • Paint dried pumpkin seeds orange, green and brown.

  • Using a pumpkin template, place the seeds, painted side up, onto glue to create your pumpkin!

Spider Snack
Using every child's favorite snack, the Oreo cookie, we will create a spider-inspired snack. Pairs nicely with a glass of milk.
  • oreos
  • pretzels
  • cake icing
  • m&ms
Life Cycle of a Pumpkin
This October, the students will be examining the life cycle of a pumpkin and all the ways they are prepared and consumed. See below for some food facts from Science Kids.


How large can pumpkins grow? Are they a fruit or vegetable? What are some different ways we eat pumpkin?


  • Pumpkins are usually orange but can sometimes be yellow, white, green or red.

  • The name pumpkin comes from the Greek word ‘pepon’, meaning ‘large melon’.

  • Pumpkins have thick shells which contain pulp and seeds.

  • Scientifically speaking, pumpkins are a fruit (they contain seeds) but when it comes to cooking, they are often referred to as vegetables.

  • Pumpkins are usually shaped like a sphere (ball).

  • They vary in weight but an average sized pumpkin might weigh around 13 pounds (6 kilograms).

  • Giant pumpkins can be grown for competitions, with some weighing over 1000 pounds! (450 kilograms). In 2010, the world record was 1810 pounds! That’s huge!!

  • Pumpkin plants feature both male and female flowers, with bees typically being involved in pollination (the transfer of pollen).

  • Over 1 billion pounds (450 million kgs) of pumpkin are produced in the US every year.

  • As a food, pumpkin can be baked, roasted, steamed or boiled.

  • Pumpkin soup is popular, as are roasted pumpkin seeds.

  • Pumpkin pie is a sweet dessert that originates in North America and is traditionally eaten during harvest time and holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas.

  • Pumpkins are popular decorations during Halloween. A carved pumpkin illuminated by candles is known as a ‘jack-o-lantern’. The tradition is believed to have come from Ireland, where they used to carve faces into turnips, beet and other root vegetables as part of the Gaelic festival of Samhain.

  • 100 grams of pumpkin produces around 26 calories of energy.

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October's Artisitic Corner

October's Inspired Snack

October's Science Lab

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